The campus was put on lockdown around 1 p.m. when a student barricaded himself in a home on the north side of the university. A notice on the school's website instructed students and faculty to stay in residence halls or classrooms.
Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said the standoff began when deputies were trying to serve a warrant on 24-year-old Jared Dale Knight. Deputies were looking for stolen guns in Knight's home.
Knight's former employer told ABC11 the Iraq War veteran was arrested Sunday night for allegedly stealing an AR-15 rifle from Sovereign Guns in Fuquay-Varina. Owner Kiran Frampton said Knight was seen putting the weapon into his bag on a surveillance camera. Frampton said Fuquay-Varina police called Knight Sunday and got him to come to the store where he was arrested on a larceny charge. He allegedly returned the gun and was released from the Wake County jail on a $3,000 bond.
Frampton said a subsequent check of the store's books revealed two rifles and four handguns were also missing. He contacted authorities a second time.
Sheriff Rollins said they went to Knight's home Wednesday and he was cooperating and placed in handcuffs. Rollins said Knight somehow got out of the handcuffs and locked himself inside his room. That's when the standoff began.
Asked how Knight got out of the cuffs, Rollins said: "We're gonna find that out later I reckon."
Rollins said the situation was contained, and officials locked down the campus purely as a precaution.
"He just got some problems right now and we need to help him out," said Rollins.
Rollins said a sheriff's department negotiator was able to talk him into giving himself up.
"Had him thinking clearly at the end," said Rollins.
Campbell, a liberal arts university that has its main campus in Buies Creek - east of Lillington - also has a separate law school located in Raleigh. School officials said all evening classes on the main campus were cancelled Wednesday.
The home that Knight was barricaded in is owned by the university. Officials said he rented a room.
Students who spoke with ABC11 said they were shocked Knight was involved. They described him as a nice guy who uses a service dog to help him get around campus.
Frampton described him as clean cut and helpful with customers. He said Knight told him he was from Texas, and was injured by an improvised explosive device in Iraq.
According to military records, Knight was given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force in 2009 for allegedly taking $10,600 worth of military property for personal use. He was also arrested by local officials for allegedly impersonating a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement officer in 2008.
ABC11 spoke with Knight's father in Abilene, TX Wednesday who said Knight served eight months in military prison for the theft. He also said Knight suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. The father said he asked his son to give himself up.
Rollins refused to go into specifics about what Knight and the negotiator talked about, but he said Knight threatened to hurt himself early in the negotiations and seems concerned about what people thought about him.
Knight's youth pastor Joe Monk said Knight's family moved back to Texas after he graduated from Fuquay-Varina High in 2005 and joined the Air Force.
"We just want to see how we can minister to him in this time as a church and as his youth pastor to make sure he's able to walk through this it's going to be a tough time, so we want to help him through that," Monk said.
He added that by all accounts, Knight's personality remained the same after he was injured.
Meanwhile, Knight is scheduled to make his first court appearance Thursday.